In a new feature, I (E.C. Fiori) will be self publishing my novel “Manifest Young Scion” on The Radical Centrists. Over the next few months, I will publish a chapter every Tuesday
“The days of infinity are coming to a close,” said Donald to Kurt.
“Kurt, you need to do something for me when you ship off to your next life,” said Donald.
“Alright. Shoot,” Kurt said.
“Keep in touch primarily through philosophy. I’ll start the chain.”
Kurt nodded his eyes on the ground.
“Actually, why you don’t start it? You’ll get to school before me,” said Donald.
Philosophy From Boredom
People relate to others through themselves. People see parts of themselves in others and that is what causes them to like/dislike their peers. For example, if someone sees a murderer and they can say to themselves, “Well, if I was in a situation like that, I might murder someone too” then they will like the murderer more and sympathize more than if they can’t relate to the murderer at all.
Tell me what you think. It gets deeper. Feel free to dwell on this.
–Kurt’s first message to Donald.
At the threshold of his new home at The Brahmin University in Boston, Donald stared at the name carved into the granite doorway of the dormitory for students of the College of Letters: Emerson Hall.
Donald’s Orientation Leader, the keeper of the old ways and gatekeeper to the Academy prattled while Donald kept pace during the tour. “The stone of Emerson Hall was cut from the quarries by Medway and the granite exterior crafted in New Hampshire. The Boston Brahmins wished for the house to reflect those who stayed within the walls. As each new medium entered culture, so too did a new hall spring up in the Academy to guide the future within the traditions of those who built Boston. Each brick laid by devout masons honoring the Lord by building Him halls, where His beauty could be contemplated. Whereas Harvard held the vast array of science and law across the river, we at the Academy seek God in his rawest. The annals of Brahimin’s library houses prints and manuscripts lost to other collections. Dig through and you will find your twin soul preserved through ink and wood pulp,” As Donald had skipped acceptance day the previous May, the rituals of the new pupil would need to be observed before Donald could lie in his new bed, his first new bed since he left the crib.
He awoke a week later with a throb in his head.
“Should’ve gone to Spain,” raced through his brain as he lay in bed.
Derrida. Donald felt the only other experience on a similar level to first reading Derrida was when he first got high and he always assumed it was the aluminum. Then he met Derrida and later that night: Her. Who was She? She is late night cigs on a stoop for hours. A mutual friend invited them to see a movie. She went to school and lived in the same hall as the Ex. She came to Donald from the mythical Los Angeles. California had always been a hobby of Donald’s; it began when his family made the trek to visit his Godfather. The weed, the gays, and the graffiti were all things his parents had a strong stance against at times. His mother cried the first time he smoked weed. He never knew why. She smoked and so did his father. His family smoked. The world smokes, maybe not all the time, but everyone had to inhale at least once.
Anyway, that was before they filled the SUV with his life and gave his room away. He now lived where America began. He strolled along the dirty waters at night, his cigarette acting as a warning light.
Back to She. She wanted to smoke and he decided his penance complete. Hempfest was a proud Boston tradition where people smoke openly as undercovers attempt entrapment. Some face arrests are made and shitty metal is heard. Donald knew his chances of actually buying weed were slim plus it was just bad rally etiquette. Instead, he purchased Salvia. It was a hell of a time. He doubted it was a strong as the man said, but he lit up anyway.
He yawned, legs shaking. Don’t obey the shuffle. Enjoy it. Negativity has no home here. Don’t focus, one will see the cracks. Fuck it. He came back into being in an alley in Allston from the brick buildings, Donald assumed he was between Harvard Ave and Kelton.
The road from Allston to downtown is a single street with a slight curve. It was made for stumbling and down Donald went. Along the way, a friendly man offered him the drugs he was looking for.
Sit down. He put his hand in Donald’s pocket. Put that shit away. Whistle at the girl passing. Donald slipped the bill into the ragged denim and caught the next gust passing by.
Chronic. Laced. Good.
The pipe was back in his hand, his room miles away. For a city of colleges, the town shut down pretty early. Donald pissed on a door; the basement steps gave decent cover. His Dell DJ was broken; he would have to provide his own sound track.
He had shit to consider anyway. Kurt’s message was a thought, a reason, a quandary, but there had to be a reason why everyone doesn’t sympathize with every murderer?
Were some acts just in another world beyond understanding?
He had the avenue to himself and he paused to consider the space. The sounds of life were echoes not too different to the small town he came from. In this moment, the city was his. Donald didn’t enjoy the sensation for long. The emptiness ate at him.
The Ex was a block away at her dorm. Donald went for his phone to find the battery drained. It wasn’t her number he needed to dial anyway. He could call She, but he knew that moment had passed as well. The number he needed didn’t exist. His friends had moved south or west. The kids so far at school were squares and so what if they drank. Everyone did. Donald saw his mom puke a few times.
It was time to find a smoke circle. Not the drumming kind or the rapping kind, but a Salon. The kind, they had when the world tried. The members haunt the streets with a bag of fun. People fighting the apathetic state of sleep with beer, weed, cigs, and anything else they picked up along the way. Common threads stitched bridges.
The traditional Brownstones of Boston were a queer sort of neighborhood: pricey, but not as unreasonable as some of the gaudy condos lowering property values up the Hill. The Brahmins made this city in their academic image. Donald’s University had sold their Brownstone classrooms within the past decade. The other arts needed larger classrooms for demonstrations.
The College of Letters should have kept those traditional halls and not just the dorms. The modern chic design of the new buildings was no place to house discussion of literature. Donald’s tenure as a student had been a disappointing lesson in the stubbornness of academia. The College of Letters was founded with the University in 1880. Donald believed that the course descriptions hadn’t changed since. His fellow writing majors dismissed Hemingway and praised the commercial drivel stamped by Oprah. The kids in his phonebook squealed and dreamed of Perez.
Donald could never objectify money or fame as he was born with a larger bank account than he had any right to spend and his surname carried the weight of an Egyptian sarcophagus. His parents built a reasonable middle class life to give Donald a sense of balance and a level of understanding. He took the bus to the tax funded school down the road and not the private citadels that start the class separation while young. He had no need to rise within the ranks of the masses. His parents for all their middle class ideals, did have a few items in their budget. His parents believed in tithing and funded the complete upkeep and restoration of the St. Patrick’s Cathedral. The local library benefited from their patronage as well. The definition of the 1% of America with about a fifty million a year income, but besides those two exceptions lived a traditional middle class budgetary life style. His family’s wealth began before Versailles was signed. His parent’s remaining charity, and there was a large remainder, supported the various classical Art organizations: the opera companies, the public broadcasting stations, the art museums (plaque, not wing material). Donald felt terribly bourgeois, a word from James, Donald cousin, who lived in Boston as a public school teacher. James gave Donald books by Emma Goldman, Alexander Berkman, Bob Woodward, and Howard Zimmerman. Donald wanted to be a man of the people, perhaps one up his parents and give away his inheritance. Yet, he could not leave the box seats of the opera behind. With wealth came true culture; if he entered the land of no savings accounts, Donald would stagnant in the swamp of television and new media. To be ethical was one ideal, but to be cursed to a life of Lolcats was not Donald’s intention.
He inhaled. Otherwise the smoked weed would be a waste of his last twenty dollar bill until he hit eighteen in a few months. Kerouac met Ginsberg and company at Columbia. Donald assumed his prestigious surrounding would have been filled with mirrors. The spawn of the Yuppies who dreamed of the vapid 80’s when the bricks of oligarchy were laid. There were plenty of fake punks and hippies and other ghosts of revolutions past, all consumed by the Hipster machine. Donald knew he lived a similar life, cannibalizing the writing of others. A thief.
He came of age when Olympus stood. An age of symbols faded in the current time, a centerless culture drifting due to inertia into the edge of dark matter never to connect again. Objects without source or destination. Each moment valued as the moment before and after. The act of creation denied order and expanded entropy in the contextless universe? Could such an act be deemed ethical?
He’d been reading any manifesto he could google for answers. Donald had the Futurists on his bedside at the moment. They wanted the classics to burn. The world needed room for new pieces according to Marinetti. The futurists got gunned and gassed in the trenches. The world turned without them.
He sat on a stone wall and rolled a cigarette. The tobacco littered the sidewalk as Donald fumbled with inexperience; Donald was used to the convenience of the prerolled products of Winston Salem. The harsh charring smoke produced a hack. The second drag went smoother. Things were changing. The pouch would be dry soon and his 18th was months off. A child, still. A visiting friend attempting to impress his girlfriend had bought Donald the tobacco. Now he was running dry and lacked a local source.
In his small town, he had often fled into the woods for isolation, but here in the city, Donald couldn’t escape the nothingness. Donald’s inability to make friends began as a child when he was watching strange kids play on the beach and they dragged him into the festivities. Donald managed to flee, but they tracked his steps back to his family’s umbrella encampment and asked for “Dylan” to return and play. Donald couldn’t remember the event himself, but his parents loved to tell it for him. In middle school, he was placed into the trouble kid courses (because of his mellowness according to his mom) and joined their fun after a day of being spit on. The school framed his klepto habits as an omen of violence. Donald’s actions inspired his old classmates in the gifted courses to steal trading cards from shops. Donald accepted his acceptance. People talked to him after the bell and that was good enough for Donald.
Donald’s stumbling returned to a normal swagger as he entered the Gardens. A copper Washington defended the Brahmin’s legacy: the labeled trees. A curfew had been cast over the Commons and Garden due to recent shootings, but Donald had no time for right angles. He hid the bud in his ratty sneaks next to his ID and keys. He hadn’t skated since he was single digits, but he kept buying the shoes. More space, more drugs.
The arch shined across the street, this was another Brahmin dorm. Donald couldn’t recognize the stone of the building. Donald rolled a cig as he waited for the light to change at the crosswalk. The archway of this dorm was filled with light and life. Comrades in arms about to ship out on a mission to get high. Donald drafted himself alongside the crew. He had seen a few of these people before one was Blond Commander, an ex-gamer with a stockpile of Camels. The other student, Donald recognized was the Cook. He petitioned for ovens in the dorm lounge, to free his fellow students from the dining commons. The admins rejected it on principle, but shielded themselves in articles of fire code. As much as he spoke of his culinary talents, he funded his blunts through busking during closing time. He breathed musical notes.
“That a joint?”
The question came from the Blond Commander,
“Nah, cig, but I could roll one if you guys wanted,” said Donald.
“Word,” said the Blond Commander.
“We’re about to rip at the docks, you’re welcome to join,” said the Cook.
The other troops were day players and honorary members looking for a weekend.
They marched into the former marshes. Donald couldn’t roll for shit, but he could pack a bowl. His parents searched the mail and his friends overcharged for head shop purchases. The circumstances forced Donald to grind with his hands and not a doodad.
“Super Bowl,” spoke the Cook.
“Football hasn’t started yet,” said the Blond Commander.
“No, this bowl has gone around like fifty times,” said the Cook.
“Hmmmm,” said Donald.
“You’re a quiet fucking dude,” spoke the Blond Commander.
“You like Marley,” and with that the Cook and the Blond Commander led an acappella rendition of “Is This Love?”
It quickly descended into a discussion of the FBI’s stalking of feared cultural icons in the 60’s.
The bag ran dry and the exodus to their beds began. As the group splintered by building, the Blond Commander and the Cook remained behind with Donald. They pulled out their hidden bags and discussed the problems of modern counter culture.
“Empty symbols, man,” spoke the Cook.
“Cannibalistic surbanites,” offered Donald.
“Astroturf independents” ended the Blond Commander.
They sat and shared Camels. Sharing the fire. They left as the sun returned. El Jefe, the fuzz, would be coming.
He then scribbled down his response on a fast food wrapper in a nearby waste bin with a borrowed pen.
People’s feelings about each other are based on the qualities the other person has. A person will be liked if they have qualities that the judge has or desires. A person will be hated if the judge sees their less favorite traits of their in that person. No one likes to be reminded of their dark side. Except when they do.
It should be noted that even though a person can relate through emotions, this does not guarantee, they will agree with another’s actions. A man could understand the murder, but still think it wasn’t a reasonable action. Think about a pacifist, they could understand the rage, but still couldn’t condone the use of violence.
This topic is very broad and I can only touch some of the different ways this can be interpreted. And they are all correct in the facet of humanity they address. The human mind is too complex for one master universal answer to your idea.